Kentex to waive rights if it doesn’t show up at DOLE probe
LABOR Secretary Rosalinda Baldoz warned the owners of the slippers factory in Valenzuela City, which caught fire last week, killing 72 workers, against snubbing the second mandatory conference set on Wednesday (May 20), saying a no-show would mean they were waiving their right to be heard.
In a statement on Tuesday, Baldoz said Kentex Manufacturing Inc. did not attend the first mandatory conference on Monday despite receiving official notice from the DOLE-National Capital Region.
“The second conference is on Wednesday. If the company fails to attend, then, it will be construed that it has waived its right to be heard,” said Baldoz.
The mandatory conferences were part of its own investigation into whether the company complied with, or violated standards on labor conditions and occupational health safety before the fire on May 13.
Baldoz said the labor agency’s probe has been focusing only on these two areas to avoid duplicating the parallel investigations being conducted by other relevant government agencies on the enforcement of and compliance with the Fire Code of the Philippines, the National Building and Structural Code, the Philippine Electrical Code, among other laws and regulations.
Based on the first mandatory conference held Monday, Baldoz said the DOLE established that Kentex engaged the services of an unregistered subcontractor, CJC Manpower Services, which was not paying the correct wages and benefits to its workers.
The subcontractor was also not remitting the social security contributions of its workers to the Social Security System, PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG, thereby depriving them of benefits should they need them, she pointed out.
The subcontractor was also found to be paying workers it deployed to Kentex only P202.50 per day, claiming that the latter was paying them separately P230 per day. “However, no payroll can support the said claim,” said Baldoz, citing a report submitted by DOLE-NCR Director Alex Avila.
Other violations committed by CJC were the non-payment of the 13th month pay for 2014, non-payment of holiday pay and special holiday premium and illegal deduction for cash bond, said the labor chief.
She also cited records showing that CJC’s last remittance to the SSS was on April 8 for January 2015 premiums covering only 18 workers, none of whom were employed at Kentex.
Labor officials would tackle issues on occupational safety and health standards with the management of Kentex during the second mandatory conference on Wednesday (May 20), said Baldoz.
Following the two mandatory conferences, the DOLE-NCR can already evaluate the results of the proceedings, including the documents and statements it obtained and the interviews it conducted and subsequently issue a compliance order to both Kentex and the subcontractor, she said.
“The compliance order, an exercise of lawful authority, should already detail all the money accountabilities of Kentex and its subcontractor,” she added. SFM/AC
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